‘That very well could have cost us the game’: Pac-12 officials’ clock issue vexes Kyle Whittingham
Referee confused the situation by telling the crowd that the clock needed to be reset and that one of the teams had called a timeout during the play
The final minute of Saturday’s Utah-USC game certainly didn’t help the perpetually flagging reputation of Pac-12 referees.
With 13 seconds left, Utes defensive back JaTravis Broughton intercepted Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams and returned the ball 34 yards. The clock stopped, and then restarted before Broughton went out of bounds with eight seconds left. But officials called pass interference, nullifying the interception.
The referees ended up resetting the clock to 13 seconds for USC’s final two plays.
Referee Mark Duddy confused the situation by telling the crowd that the clock needed to be reset and that one of the teams had called a timeout during the play — which, of course, makes no sense.
Utah ended up winning 43-42.
After the game, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was perplexed.
“The real thing I want to get to the bottom of is the clock situation at the end. That very well could have cost us the game. We intercept the ball and run it back and I see the clock stop and then it starts up again and it stops again during the play,” he said. “When all was said and done, they put more time on than at any point during that sequence.
“The explanation I got was an inadvertent stoppage of play by the ref, which would have stopped the clock right there. It was definitely a mistake because the interception was in progress.”
Whittingham said it was a learning experience for the coaching staff under a strange circumstance.
“We’ll figure it out just for our knowledge so we know how to proceed if we ever get in situations like that again,” he said.
USC coach Lincoln Riley wasn’t happy about the performance of the refs, either.
“The officiating was really bad tonight,” he said after the game, “but we still should have won the game.”
The Trojans were whistled for 12 penalties for 93 yards. They took exception to some personal fouls called on them.
Saturday’s game was just the latest in a long line of questionable calls by Pac-12 officials this season — and in past seasons.
Whittingham is still scratching his head over the final seconds of Saturday’s game.
“We’ve still got to figure out what’s going on with that clock,” he said. “Someone’s gotta explain all that to me.”